Showing posts with label NEMBUTSU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NEMBUTSU. Show all posts

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Rest in Nembutsu

Rest in Nembutsu. Let all your thoughts come and go while you just say the Name. Put an image of Amida that you like  in front of you and say Nembutsu while looking at it. Don't force yourself to feel anything special, just look at Amida and say His Name.
Rest in His presence and Name,
Na Mo A Mi Da Bu, Na Mo A Mi Da Bu, Na Mo A Mi Da Bu....

Do not pursue the various thoughts and worries that appear in the mind, but rest in Amida's Name. You can do this wherever you are, even without an image in front of you.

Amida Buddha is always present so you can simply change the focus to Him and leave everything else aside. You do not need meditation techniques which will make you go astray from Amida when this simple resting in the Name can be done in any circumstance and it is in accord with Amida's Primal Vow and Shinran's words:

"In this fleeting world - this burning house - all matters without exception are empty and false, totally without truth and sincerity. The Nembutsu alone is true and real. "

So, rest in Namo Amida Bu, the manifestation of true reality beyond the samsaric delusion.

Rest in the Name and you rest in Amida's presence. This is not a metaphor, nor a symbol, but the actual truth. Amida is in front of you every time, so please, turn your mind to Him and rest in His Name.
Namo Amida Bu

The above instructions appeared to me spontaneously this night at Amidaji temple. May our Dharma friends abandon the intention to mix practices and find everything they need in the Nembutsu of Faith!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The three types of prostrations - Amidaji style (video)

There are three types of prostrations presented at Amidaji temple:

1)      Half body prostration from sitting
2)      Half body prostration from standing
3)      Full body prostration from standing

1)      Half body prostration from sitting
We place our hands in gassho on the crown of our head, at the forehead, at the throat level, and at the level of the heart. Then we bow with our head touching the ground and our palms facing upwards. We slightly raise our palms and we keep them there for a few seconds. We do this three times and at the end we bow with our hands in gassho from sitting.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Nembutsu liturgy of Amidaji temple (final version)

last update and revised 
26th August 2019

Although we also have other services, I  decided this will be the main liturgy at Amidaji temple. Unlike other services that you can see in various temples, this one is easier to follow, especially because all parts (including the Three Invitations) are recited, not chanted. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

Nembutsu vs mantras and dharanis related with Amida

Amida Buddha image
at the altar of Amidaji temple
Question: Can we chant various mantras or dharanis associated with Amida Buddha/Amitabha from the esoteric schools instead of His Name? 

Answer: In His Primal Vow (18th Vow) Amida Buddha exclusively mentioned the saying of His Name (Nembutsu), so we only say His Name. As no mantras or dharanis are mentioned there, we do not recite them. From the myriads of practices, related or not related with Him, Amida chose His Name, so we must be in accord with His wish. I explained this aspect in more detail here (click to read).

Being a Buddha, He knows better why He only chose the Nembutsu in His Primal Vow, so we should not busy our minds with something that goes beyond our limited capacities, but follow His command and say His Name exclusively. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Nembutsu of faith - the genuine saying of the Name of Amida Buddha

last updated and revised December 19th 2018

Question: How can I be sure that I say Nembutsu in the right way? You often use terms like “the genuine/true Nembutsu”. What is it exactly and how it differs from a Nembutsu said in the wrong way?

Answer: The Name of Amida Buddha is not your property, and it does not work because of you. It works because of Amida. Your saying of the Name is effective because Amida put all His Power and infinite merits in His Name.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Elements of genuine faith: 8) To not mix nembutsu and devotion towards Amida Buddha with other faiths and practices from inside or outside of the Buddha Dharma

             - click to return to the main list of the elements of genuine faith in Amida Buddha - 

For example, a person of genuine faith will not entrust to, nor rely on the "god" of the monotheists[1] or any other gods or spirits of various religions.  

"Based on the true intent of the Buddha’s teaching and the expositions made and transmitted by the masters of the past, I will clarify that the path of sages is provisional and the Pure Land path is true, and caution people against non-Buddhist teachings, which are perverted, false, and wrong".[2]

“Those who take refuge truly and wholeheartedly, freeing themselves from all delusional attachments and all concern with the propitious or unpropitious, must never take refuge in false spirits or non-Buddhist teachings.”[3]

"Here, based on the sutras, the true and the false are determined and people are cautioned against the wrong, false, and misleading opinions of nonbuddhist teachings:
The Nirvana Sutra states:
'If one has taken refuge in the Buddha, one must not further take refuge in various gods.'

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What should I do about my bad thoughts that don’t stop even after entrusting myself to Amida Buddha?

-last revised January 2nd, 2018 -

Don’t busy yourself with them, as Amida does the same. Your salvation has nothing to do with them. This is why Master Rennyo said that our negative karma is like non-existent, in the sense that it will not become an obstacle to our birth in the Pure Land where we attain Buddhahood. This is also the meaning of “we attain Buddhahood without destroying blind passions”. In fact, once born in the Pure Land our blind passions dissapear automatically, but until then, and while we are still in our delusory bodies, blind passions are not a hindrance to our salvation which depends exclusively on  Amida Buddha. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Simple Nembutsu service at Amidaji temple

                                                     (please click on the highlighted words in the text 
                                                                       as they lead you to very important teachings!) 

(update: scroll down to the last video to see Nembutsu service with drum!)
This is a simple religious service based entirely on Nembutsu recitation. The rhytm of recitation is held by hitting a wooden mokugyo in a normal or faster speed. This service is useful to anybody, especially to newcomers who don't know to recite the various hymns included in other services. Thus, they can join immediately in the temple chanting without any difficult introductions. As you see in the video, the recitation can sometimes be accompanied by bowing three times. The priest bows three times from standing, while the rest of the sangha from sitting. Also, when the priest enters the Hondo (Dharma Hall) and approaches the altar he bows three times from standing while saying Nembutsu. The sangha also accompanies him from sitting. Here Nembutsu is recited as:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Don't do many things, just focus on the recquirements of the Primal Vow

Recently, a reader wrote to me:

"We do many things at our temple, we meditate, do various practices, so we never become bored. Why don't you do the same to attract new members?"

In His Primal Vow Amida Buddha mentioned that we should do three things only and exclusively, "entrust yourself to me, say my Name, and wish to be born in my land". All these three are expressed in the Nembutsu of faith.

Its a pity you are bored with the Primal Vow, and that you and your temple sangha are not focused on what Amida asks you to do.  If in the Primal Vow meditation was mentioned, then I would teach and practice meditation. But as only faith, nembutsu and wish to be born in the Pure Land are to be found there, I obey and limit myself to them. Please do the same if you wish to be born in the true fulfilled land of the Pure Land[1]. Our school is the school of the Primal Vow, so if you consider yourself a member, then be a follower of the Primal Vow.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A short question and answer on worshiping Maitreya and Amida Buddha

Amida Buddha and Eight Great
Bodhisattvas, among which there
is Maitreya
I respect and worship both Maitreya and Amida Buddha. They have their own realms and practices associated with them. I also worship and respect all Buddhas. What is your opinion about this?

Its good to respect all Buddhas, but we must remember that each Buddha has His own way of relating with sentient beings. Maitreya has a different way, and Amida has a different way. If we want to connect with Amida Buddha we must follow His instructions from His Primal Vow "entrust to me, say my Name and wish to be born in my land". Nothing else. So, in order to be born in Amida's Land we must focus on Amida exclusively, that is, entrust only to Him, say His Name only, and wish to be born only in His Pure Land. This is very easy to understand.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Repentance and the Nembutsu of Faith

Along the path of personal power, repentance is a very important method of destroying the negative karma. However, true repentance is not just a simple confession of mistakes, but a deep awareness which penetrates one's body and mind. Thus, Master Shan-tao explained that there are three types of genuine repentance:

"The high grade of repentance is to shed blood from the pores of one’s body and also to shed blood from one’s eyes.
The middle grade of repentance is to shed hot sweat from the pores of one’s whole body and also to shed blood from one’s eyes.
The low grade of repentance is to feel feverish all over the body and also to shed tears from one’s eyes".[1]

Answering the question whether repentance is necessary in Pure Land Buddhism, Master Shan-tao says in the same book (Liturgy for Birth), which was quoted by Shinran in his Kyogyoshinsho, that if the follower has faith in the salvation offered by Amida Buddha he reaches the same result as in the case of repentance:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Name of Amida Buddha is the Great Practice

- updated on January 21st 2017 - 

Amida Buddha
          In chapter II of his Kyogyoshinsho, Shinran defines the great practice:

"When I humbly contemplate the 'going forth' aspect of Amida’s merit transference, I realize that there are great practice and great faith. The great practice is to call the Name of the Tathagata of Unhindered Light (Amida Buddha). This practice contains all good and roots of virtue, and is perfectly accomplished and most eficacious in bringing about liberation. It is the treasure-sea of merits of true suchness, ultimate reality. For this reason, it is called great practice.

This practice comes from the vow of great compassion, the Seventeenth Vow, which is called the Vow that the Name shall be glorified by all the Buddhas. It is also called the Vow that the Name shall be praised by all the Buddhas, and the Vow that the Name shall be lauded by all the Buddhas. Further, it can be called the Vow accomplishing the going-forth aspect of merit transference, and also the Vow of the Nembutsu chosen from among many practices.'

Concerning the vow that the Name shall be praised by all the Buddhas, the Larger Sutra states:

'If, when I attain Buddhahood, innumerable Buddhas in the lands of the ten directions should not all praise and glorify my Name, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.'

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I don't miss meditation since I met the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha

Do you ever feel like anything is "missing" for you without regular meditation?

My aswer:
I really do not feel something is missing. For an ordinary person meditation is useless anyway because no one can attain Enlightenment through it in this last Dharma age. More than this, meditation can even be a distraction from the Primal Vow. If Amida wanted us to practice meditation and considered meditation to be helpful to us, then He would have included it in His Primal Vow, which He didn't. As Honen said, Amida chose only His Name from the myriad practices. Why? Because this Name is supreme and all-powerful, and will take us quickly to freedom from birth and death.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Nembutsu does not work because of us

 - fragment from a letter to a friend - 

When you say the Name of Amida, do not think this saying (nembutsu) works because of you, like the often you do it or the more concentrated you are when you say it, the better it is. The Name has nothing to do with you and so, it is not a tool for your unenlightened mind to manipulate and generate birth in the Pure Land. The Name is the manifestation of Amida and it works because of Amida. While other Pure Land schools focus on the person saying the Name and are busy with teaching their followers to have a good state of mind when saying it, our Jodo Shinshu school focuses on Amida and His Power to save. Here we just let Amida save us. When we, Jodo Shinshu followers, say the Name, we simply express this faith and we say, „thank you, Amida Buddha”.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What is the meaning of faith and nembutsu?

When one has faith (shinjin), one is convinced that Amida Buddha and His Pure Land exists, and that the Promise He made in His Primal Vow is true, so he simply entrusts to this Buddha and wishes to go to His Pure Land (Buddha-field of Amida) after death. Saying Namo Amida Bu often or seldom means exactly this – “I entrust to Amida Buddha/I take refuge in Amida Buddha and I wish to go to His Pure Land”. It also means, “Thank you Amida Buddha for saving me and taking me to your Pure Land at the end of this physical body”.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Just say the Name in faith

- fragment from a letter to a Dharma friend - 

There is no need to create something special into your mind.
By saying Namo Amida Bu in faith
 you accept that everything necesary to your salvation
 depends entirely on Amida Buddha
When you say the Name, just say the Name. No matter if you feel something good or bad, if you are calm or have an agitated mind, just say the Name. When you say this Name you do not take refuge in your own mind, in the thoughts that appear in it, in your feelings or ideas, but in Amida Buddha who is outside of your mind.

Why bother with having the best attitude of mind when you say the Name?
This Name does not belong to you and its power is the Power of Amida Buddha, so you cannot improve it or damage it by anything that can be found in your mind.
I am telling you all these things repeatedly and in many letters, so that you do not have any fear that somehow, something that exists in your mind can be an obstacle to the saving activity of Amida Buddha. If you simply entrust yourself to Amida, and saying His Name means exactly this (that you entrust yourself to Him), you are saved just as you are, and no matter what happens to you or with your mind while you are still in this illusory body, your birth in the Pure Land is safe and you will surely go there, at the end of this present life.

Again, please do not busy yourself with your unpredictable mind; do not worry about it. It is normal for an ordinary, unenlightened person like you to have an unstable mind, and the Compassion of Amida Buddha is especially directed to such people.  You just say the nembutsu of faith and relax. Yes, you can relax, because your salvation and birth in the Pure Land does not depend on you, but on Amida’s Power. This is exactly why you say His Name, „Namo Amida Bu” (I take refuge/entrust in Amida Buddha), Namo Amida Bu, Namo Amida Bu…. You rely on Him, not on yourself. This is the true nembutsu – the nembutsu of faith.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Do not rely on your 'spiritual evolution'

Your spiritual evolution is an illusion. What you think you obtained now, you can lose in the next moment.  The ego cannot evolve; all he really does is to constantly adapt himself to various coarse or refined attachments. From material pleasures to spiritual satisfaction and false Nirvanas, the possibilities of deceit are endless to those who rely on personal power. 

In contrast to other paths, the nembutsu of faith is not a mantra for personal evolution, but a surrender of your ego to supreme Enlightenment in the form and Name of Amida Buddha. Even if we remain ego-centered in our daily lives until death and rebirth in the Enlightened realm of Amida Buddha, this ego is no more a basis for the Path to Enlightenment.

Namo Amida Butsu - we entrust not in our unenlightened ego, but in Amida Buddha, the Enlightened One of Great Mercy.

Friday, June 20, 2014

We cannot mix Nembutsu with Zazen

In zazen, one simply dwells in awareness and lets go to any thought that appears in one’s mind. Even if the thought of Amida and of saying His Name appears, the Zen practitioner will simply let it go; he does not reject it, but also does not embrace it, either. However, this attitude is not in accord with the teaching of our school, where we “cling to Amida’s sleeves’, take refuge in Amida, and say His Name in faith. So, a true Jodo Shinshu follower who entrusts to Amida cannot engage in the practice of zazen, because in the very moment he refuses to say the nembutsu, or lets go to the thought on Amida, he in fact, abandons the Pure Land path. Similarly, in the very moment a Zen practitioner takes refuge in Amida and says the nembutsu of faith, he abandons the Zen path or the Zen attitude of mind.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jump in the arms of Amida

In our school we leave everything to Amida, our bad karma and our so called "good karma". We do not think of merit or lack of merit. 

Namo Amida Butsu is not a personal struggle or mantra, but the expression of simple faith. 
It means to jump in the arms of Amida.

Friday, April 18, 2014

No meditation, just nembutsu

Master Shan-tao saying exclusively the
Name of Amida Buddha
UPDATE (April 22) - read bellow the initial article

Question: Is it ok for a nembutsu devotee to also practice various Buddhist or non-Buddhist meditation techniques and mantras, as a mean to calm one's mind or because of various positive effects these might have in one's daily life?

Answer: NO, it is not ok.
Your mind will never be calm – please learn to live with this. Life as an unenlightened person is hard, and there is nothing you can do to change this. So, just say the nembutsu of faith in Amida and wish to be born in His Pure Land after death. If you want to  busy your mind with something until you die, then say nembutsu as often as possible; say it many times and concentrate on it. Sometimes your mind might become calmer if you focus on nembutsu, even if calming the mind is not the goal of nembutsu. 

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch